Mill File for Cabinet scrapper sharpening.

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Forum topic by RandyMarine posted 09-20-2010 05:08 PM 3922 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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236 posts in 3363 days

09-20-2010 05:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question trick

Hello Fello LJ’s,

I am building a sharpening station to orginize my few sharpening tools I have. I have been looking for a Mill file to sharpen my cab scrappers…unfortunatly I know very little about files. Can anyone point me in a general direction…maybe I am just googleing it wrong, but I haven’t found much by way of File Specs and what makes a mill file over a bastard file…and so on…

Thanks in advance for all your help!

-- Semper Fi, Randy Sr.

14 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 09-20-2010 05:12 PM

I’m just using a file from a file/rasp set from the BORG.
just google ‘metal file’

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View lew's profile


12051 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 09-20-2010 05:37 PM

I just got a Nickolson brand file from Lowes. It’s just a general purpose metal file and it works great for sharpening scrapers.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View bayspt's profile


292 posts in 3698 days

#3 posted 09-20-2010 05:53 PM
The link will get you all you need to know about files. I use a single cut smooth mill. Sharp is really the key if you ask me though.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3726 days

#4 posted 09-20-2010 07:10 PM

Here are a couple of references that should help you understand the different file types and cuts:

Nicholson “The Guide to Files and Filing

Another Nicholson Booklet, “File Filosophy”, was printed in the early to middle 20th century and contains a wealth of information on files and filing. (This file takes a while to load – be patient)

Nicholson’s “File Terminology Guide” is a one-page guide to types of cuts, teeth, shapes and other general information.

Hopefully this information will help you. As for purchasing a Mill File, do a search on Amazon and you’ll find a lengthy listing of files such as this.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3275 days

#5 posted 09-20-2010 07:24 PM

Nicholson is now making their files in Mexico. The drop in quality is dramatic and I wouldn’t waste any more of my money on any more Nicholson files. Here’s a link that explains the changes in the #49 and #50 rasps:

The quality of the prepared file blank and the final quality of the file are directly related. The new file blanks are just too rough for making decent files. Here’s a photo of the difference between older Nicholson XX Slim taper files and the new ones:
US vs. Mexican made Nicholson files

View swirt's profile


2729 posts in 2965 days

#6 posted 09-20-2010 07:55 PM

Wow. That is an amazing photo lwllms. The lousy finish from the metal on the Mexican steel (left) runs right through the teeth. I had seen the post from Joel quite a long time ago, but this photo shows the issue so much more clearly.

-- Galootish log blog,

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3275 days

#7 posted 09-21-2010 03:10 AM

We buy 6” XX Slim taper files in bulk. I’m still angry about receiving pure garbage the last time I bought the Nicholson files. We were under a deadline when $60 worth of these came in and we had no choice but to struggle our way through with them and clean up the mess with worn files. The files turned an unpleasant job into a time-eating nightmare. Another proud old American company has bit the dust in the name of corporate greed and those files are the last thing I’ll ever buy from Cooper Tools.

View tnwood's profile


258 posts in 3080 days

#8 posted 09-21-2010 03:30 PM

If you look at at the Lee Valley site, they list some of the Nicholson files as being made in the USA and others without any designation of the country of manufacture. I’m going to order one of the USA identified ones just to see if they are high quality. With LV, I know they will make good if there is a problem.

View Hayabusa's profile


173 posts in 2874 days

#9 posted 09-21-2010 03:43 PM

Hi friend, I do recommend the grovet files. They have got some different names, sandvik, vallorbe, dick …. I dont know why but I´m really happy with them I use them for saw sharpening as Lie-Nielsen do and for square card scrapers too They are made in sweden I think they are realible
And another are simons files, good purchase, good luck

View RandyMarine's profile


236 posts in 3363 days

#10 posted 09-25-2010 03:58 PM

Thanks for all the info and advice, all. I went to my local woodcraft (an hour and a half away) I got a double cut bastard file…it is a nicholson, but has a made in USA stamp on it…and looks nothing like the photo above thank God.

-- Semper Fi, Randy Sr.

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3780 days

#11 posted 09-27-2010 04:18 AM

A fine single cut file (as bayspt mentioned) ( has the teeth all running the same direction, not cross-hatched) is what you want for edging a card scraper. A double-cut file will just eat up the metal and leave you with a saw-toothed edge. A bastard file usually has too coarse of teeth. The finer the file teeth, the better edge you will be able to turn, unless you continue to hone the edge with wet-dry paper.

For most work, a 6” fine single cut mill file is all that is needed. If doing fine work like delicate inlays, etc, after filing, hold the card vertical against a squared block, and smooth the edge using 600 – 1000 grit wet-dry paper on a flat surface, keeping the edge square and flat, before burnishing. Use a light touch when scraping, or otherwise the advantages of the extra honing will be lost on the first few cuts.


-- Go

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3159 posts in 3102 days

#12 posted 09-27-2010 04:36 AM

Yeesh, the Mexican- made one looks like a double-cut file. I hope it’s a bad example, I’d rather buy from Mexico than China. Are these half-round files?

Man, I’ve got a mountain of files, from needle files to four-in-hands.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2964 days

#13 posted 09-27-2010 05:10 AM

A cheap file is worthless. I have worked with a broad range of styles and qualities over the last 50 years as an foundry engineer and jeweler. I learned a long time ago that a cheap file could make a bigger mess than what I started with. Also, even if the low quality file is sharp enough to cut, the teeth will clog quickly due to the poor finish or break off due to improper heat treating. Good files have become rather expensive, but there is no advantage to trying to save a few bucks; cause in the long run you won’t save anything at all. You will just become frustrated.

I am very saddened that Nicholson has lost sight of the absolute necessity of quality. Their little 6” single cut was the best scraper sharpener out there. No more. Probably another example of young punk wall street weenies making decisions about manufacturing when they couldn’t figure out how to change a light bulb without help.

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3275 days

#14 posted 09-27-2010 05:14 AM


They’re 6” double extra slim files like one would use when sharpening a relatively fine toothed back saw. I bought a dozen of them and they were all the same. We go through quite a few of these keeping our floats sharp and I keep a decent stock of them. I didn’t realize how bad that order of files were until we needed them under a deadline. I’ve looked at others with the “Made in Mexico” stamp and they’re the same. Don’t waste your money on new Nicholson files.

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